I’ve been following Dave Freer’s blog, Flinders Family Freer for about 18 months. Now I’ve added a Dave Freer book to my bookshelf. It wasn’t a simple thing to do. I’ve never seen one of his books in a bookshop and I had to order this one in.
Dragon’s Ring isn’t epic fantasy but it’s a thouroughly enjoyable yarn.
We have Tasmarin and it’s falling apart.
We have dragons, and they are the rulers of Tasmarin. This is a story about dragons. Some are good, some aren’t. One of those dragons, Fionn the black dragon, intends to destoy Tasmarin.
We have other beings of a variety of races, some of which have their own plans and magics.
We have humans, amongst whom there are no longer any mages. The dragons destroyed all the human mages in times past; or thought they did.
A human mage has appeared. No-one knows where she came from and she has no idea that she has any magic.
There’s a group that plans to work a mighty spell to save Tasmarin. This group is made up of a member of each race – except humans. They need the human mage; they plan to use her for their own ends and then destroy her – if they can find her.
A travelling gleeman finds the young mage before the cabal does. She travels accross the land with him, but soon realises that all is not what it seems, that the gleeman is not what he seems.
From the the blurb on the back of the book: ” Chaos, roguery, heroism, theft, love, kidnapping, magic and war follow. And more chaos.”
I found the first two or three chapters of this book quite confusing. I couldn’t work out just what was going on. I couldn’t work out who was who and who was what. The cast of characters is at the front of the book. The glossary is at the back. I found it quite a nuisance for them not to be together. I kept going from front to back to try to figure things out. The glossary didn’t really seems to help me anyway. I like to refer to the glossary. And there’s no map. I like a map. I like that visual representation of the relashionship between places.
It took me a little while to get everything straight in my head, but when I just let it go and enjoyed the story everything seemed to fall into place and oh boy! What a story. It’s fast-paced, action-packed and came to an end all-too-soon.
There are the good guys and the bad guy, but are the good guys really good guys? And is the bad guy really a bad guy? All too soon it’s clear that nothing is certain. Except for the human mage. It’s easy to like her, though at first it’s not easy to reconcile her behaviour with that of a young woman of 17. She starts off as very childish but grows in strength and character as she comes into her own and finally realises that the magic she sees around her is actually her own.
Yes, there’s war and chaos, love and magic and all of those things. Some of the dragons are nice and some aren’t. There are dragons eating other dragons, and dragons eating humans. Some from the other races are nice and some aren’t. There are beings turned to stone or disintegrated. There’s vanity and there’s deception. And there’s a sheepdog! Who wouldn’t love a loyal, cuddly sheepdog?
There’s no knowing just how this story is going to end until it actually ends. And it’s a bittersweet ending when it comes.
Will I read another Dave Freer book? Absolutely! I can’t wait for the next one to come out!